A July 15 Kaieteur News article noted that there were 12 repeat offenders dragged back before the courts in one month. This might appear to be statistically insignificant amidst the volume of cases tried and disposed of, with no such disturbing reminders of what menaces daily this vulnerable society.
Still, this small number is not so small for this small population that exists with numerous fears backing it into a dark, increasingly tighter corner.
It could be instances of those who are set in ways and deemed incorrigible; those obsessed with the easy money of fast, but deadly actions. Many have been the laments (and rightly so) from concerned places about unemployment -but is this really desired? Rewarding enough? Satisfying enough? Or is that one more excuse and quick, convenient cover that pardons the hardcore recidivists? That jury still deliberates.
The 12 are a very tender bunch; yet these young lives are already characterized by a wantonness and brutality beyond these green years. For these repeat offenders a lifetime of crime beckons, looks attractive, with plenty opportunities and places to ply criminal trade.
Look at those offenses: two on a current murder charge had sentences for prior robberies involving firearms. They are back. A third repeat offender (now for a wounding involving a cop) had separate priors for stealing and assaulting. He is back again.
A fourth member of this felonious dirty dozen was originally hauled before the courts for stealing a phone (no word of violence, and supposedly more tolerable just because of that fact). To compound matters, this same fourth errant citizen delivered two deceptions at that time: fictitious address and name. He was back for all of those. And no sooner sentence and served time, he is back for yet another (a fourth) charge; on this go around, it is another phone.
Four strikes chalked up by number four in a very short time, almost back to back in what is now taking on the appearance of a revolving criminal turnstile.
In the instance of this fourth offender, there is no reference to weapons or violence or injuries. In the local scheme of increasing brutality, there might be some mitigation for one who seems to be a sticky fingered, petty thief.
Though these things (and perpetrators) can deteriorate quickly, there is room for leniency in cases such as these. The judicial discretions usually exercised have a place. But there is need for something more, something more stinging, more straightening. What is being meted out is not enough; water on a duck’s back, it could be argued.
As if to drive home the point of chronic spiraling violence to Guyanese, one of the five now charged for murders of a moneychanger and daughter is reported to have a criminal record that includes a murder charge in 2008.
Eleven years later and two more are murdered. Who and what is there to protect this society form the hardcore stone killers in the midst? An iffy, suspect judicial system? A police process that brings more fear than comfort? Frightening!
Why are those charged and placed before the courts for offenses involving firearms and violence back on the streets in such short spans of time?
After accounting for pretrial time and merit points earned post-sentencing, a four-year penalty could bring freedom after merely two Christmases. That looks like a cheap price for criminals to pay, given what was involved. Or no price at all.
Something is not right about such decisions made and discretions extended. Police and courts operations reduce citizens to hanging by fingernails. Society pays through instability and blood.
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